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Hair- Do. A Twist Tutorial

Foreward: You know it's going to be a long post when there is a foreward... People have been asking for a hair tutorial for a long time now and I'm finally posting one. High five. I have no idea why but it was really difficult to get this together. My hairstyles are usually an secret competition (with a dear friend, we're gross like that) to see how many days we can go without washing my hair. I damage it enough with bleach and sun exposure so I try to wash and heat style it as little as possible. Most days I just throw my hair up based on what shape it is when I wake up; sometimes it takes 2 bobby pins and sometimes I need so many bobby pins that I'm a metal head like Taylor Momsen. I will do a post on this kind of hairstyle later but most of my hairstyles always start off with The Twist. I will often wear it out like this but I also just wear it like this at night to give my hair some control and curl when I release it... So easy...


Step 1: The key to this style is that your hair has to be 97% dry. It needs to be a tiny bit damp in order to give your hair curl for any hairstyles you may want to do during following days. But if it's too damp than the curls get too twisty and heavy looking. That 97% is exact science.
Give your hair a loose side part and twist away from the face, taking in hair as the twist goes on.


Step 2: Twist until about half your hair is gathered up. Pin the twist near the top of your head to keep it out of the way. I usually cross my bobby pins to make things secure.


Step 3: Twist the other side of your hair away from the face and gather all remaining hair.


Step 4: Finish the twist and pin into place below the ear.


Step 5: Release the twist that was pinned to the top of the head and nestle it into the crook of the other twist. Pin it. Any loose ends from the twists I pin and hide. I try to keep the ends straight so that when I release it there are no awkward kinks.


Step 6: I usually throw a bobby pin or two in the middle of the twists so they don't slide completely out.


Step 7: Give your hair a little scruffle. I don't like it when my hair is too neat, so I always loosen my hair up a bit. Staring at the mirror soulfully (or in my case the camera) is essential. Try it.


The Result: Neat and in control. And it gives great curls for further styles... as I will demonstrate in my next tutorial.
Sorry it took so long to post this. I hope it was worth the wait?




Matt and I celebrated our fourth year wedding anniversary this last week. We went out of the city for a camping trip and had an all around romantic time... having bug spray fights, sharing s'mores with the wildlife and




?, Winners
Skirt? Debbie Shuchat, Winners
Boots? Gap
Purse? Elliot Lucca, Winners (nothing thrifted... ah! The guilt...)

What a lie. We didn't go camping. I'm not so good at camping, I can't even think of a good camping song, that's where my story fell apart. What isn't a lie is that it was our 4th year anniversary. In keeping with tradition, we had a rather mediocre celebration. On our first anniversary, I was really hungover (Yes, Mom, I am still ashamed...). The next year, we were driving back from a vacation in PEI with friends, and last year we were sharing a cottage with my family in a tiny town in Holland (fun but not very romantic..)... This was going to be the year where we finally made it into a big deal... but then all the people in Matt's department had booked holidays already for that week, so he had to be important and work.
I took off work an hour early on our anniversary. An hour I should have spent making heart shaped sugar cookies or interviewing potential second wives but instead I spent it changing 14 times. I really wanted to wear pants to break up the skirt/dress binge I've been on lately but it wasn't working out, so I retreated to the safety of sequins and plaid. And Matt waited patiently as the tornado of clothing flew around him and then still took outfit pictures...

Dear Matt,
I'm sorry that I made you watch
The Bounty Hunter this weekend. It was really crappy.
I'm also sorry that you ordered a burger that tasted funny on our low-key anniversary dinner. The fish tacos I had weren't fantastic either. The DQ Blizzards were good though. I can handle mediocre anniversary days because I know what we have every day in our lives together is pretty freaking awesome.




Worth Waiting For






Dress? French Connection, Winners (a lot of FCUK... I'm not sponsored, I'm just finding good deals...$20).
Denim jacket? French Connection, Winners
Shoes? French Connection, Vaughn Outlets
Purse? Tignanello, thrifted
Bangles? Gifted from Mexico and from a Goodwill auction.

This is officially the longest it has ever taken me to post an outfit. I wore this two weekends ago when Matt and I went out for dinner to celebrate free time. We stopped along the way to take some pictures in the last golden rays of sunshine. Oddly enough, blogging has made me fall in love with my city as we are constantly discovering great places to take pictures. As much as this blog is about fashion and smack talk, part of the fun is finding somewhere to pose it out. I know some people check my blog just to guess where the pictures were taken. There are issues with Hamilton for sure but I'm one of the city's biggest fans. There is so much potential in this city but sometimes it's just not there... The downtown core needs to come together so people don't just come by to get a wedding dress or get drunk on Hess. We need people to come in the morning for brunch, to go buy a handbag, to get some fresh bread and brie from the farmer's market, to have a picnic at Dundurn Castle, to tour the art gallery, to go for dinner at the crowded German restaurant, to come by our place to meet the cats and then get drunk at Hess. Spend your whole day and your whole paycheck here...

Wow... I didn't mean to go on that rant at all. Where I was going with this post before I got carried away on downtown revitalization, was that we stopped by to take pictures at the Museum of Steam and Technology that I didn't even know existed and we loved how they came out. I say 'we loved', because Matt was pretty excited about these too. Except for the back shot of the dress, these pictures are unedited. It took a while to post them because in my foolishness I erased almost every picture off the memory card. It was one of those moments where the smart voice in your head tells you to double check before you hit delete and the fun voice in your head says 'Let's Party!'. Because I erased the pictures off the memory card and not the computer, retrieving them was... tedious. But Matt found a program (yes, once again, he donned his tights and saved the day...) that could get the pictures but it was rather expensive unless we signed up for the trial version giving us the ability to save one picture a day. So, every day we have carefully pored over the little thumbnails and tried to make a wise choice over what one photo to choose during each block of 24 hours. This post is all about patience. Also about thankfulness... for Matt's patience.


On Dressing and Spelling


Let's not be unkind to those who make spelling mistakes... I'm just lucky to have a Mama and 4 brothers who will email me if I wright something wrong.





Dress? Klazon, thrifted
Blazer? Braemar, thrifted
Belt? Thrifted
Clutch? Thrifted
Shoes? Steve Madden, DSW

A Disclaimer: I may be wearing my favourite fall blazer (seen here, here and here) but this doesn't mean I am ready to let go of summer just yet. Because I was so busy, I just feel like summer flew by and I didn't get to enjoy it. And while I love cool nights and cosy layers, I am not finished with patios, beaches, dresses and bare legs.

This dress is a recent thrift score. I love the bright print and crazy amounts of fabric hidden within the skirt but the best part is that the tag said the silk dress is machine washable. Which is great because it solves the problem of what to do when you find a silk dress at the thrift store. The choices are to get it dry cleaned, (which will likely cost much more than you paid for the dress), risk hand washing it, or just grin and wear it... The fact that this dress is machine washable really saved me time by making the decision for me. Time that I used to ponder the meaning of life while sipping a vintage bourbon.

The skirt of this dress reminds me of my first year of University. In our design/pattern making/construction class, one of the first things we learned was how to make a pattern for a godet. It was crazy that with a few lines we had ourselves a godet. All I wanted to do was godet up my life; godets in my collars, godets in my sleeves, pants with godets down the side... Then we actually sewed our first godet insert and I was over the godet like I was over any of the Carter boys. They are a huge pain in the a$$ to sew (the godets, not Nick or Aaron) because the top corner is such a weak spot and it starts to fray and then it'll rip. I'm sure the godet has broken the spirit of many young fashion design students in their first year... Now I know the the solution, why sew it when you can thrift it?




Most already know this but sometimes I make dresses. Last weekend there were 6 bridesmaids dresses and the weekend before, a good friend got married in a dress I made for her... and I got some pictures!
One of the biggest parts of making a custom dress is finding the right look to match the person wearing the dress. I've know the bride 'H' for a few years now and she is one of the most casual people I know. She will almost always show up in denim shorts and a tee (unless I yell at her... don't be my friend, I'm a bully). That's why I love the picture above, she looks so relaxed and happy; the perfect way to look on a wedding day.
Seeing the pictures, the dress looks deceptively simple and I almost forget the stress that crumb catcher added to my life. That's the thing with custom dresses, all of your learning curve is in that one dress. If I had to make the dress again, it wouldn't take me as long and I probably would have chosen different material to work with. The material had bounce instead of stiffness (does that make sense to anyone or does it sound like crazy talk?) but when we were picking out fabric, we were more concerned with getting the right colour and avoiding the slimy looking satins that the lady kept taking off the bolts for us. I feel stupid for not fore-seeing the issues but the colour was nice, the hand was heavy enough and the price was right, so we had our fabric. And for the most part it was fine but that crumb catcher nearly ruined me. It's really not that hard to make but because the fabric was kinda jumpy and not stiff it wouldn't hold the angle of the crumb catcher. I literally made 5 versions of the crumb catcher.... I tried every weight fusing and crinoline but it was either way too heavy, so the fabric lost it's drape and looked like cardboard (really sexy), or too light to stay up. Frustrated, I asked my patient and handsome husband to go to the hardware store and pick up assorted metal wires. It took two tries but I hand sewed some wire up centre front and along the top edge and it worked. Like a charm... heck yes. I sewed some rows of beads across the top for a tiny bit of sparkle. Apparently not everyone likes their sparkle in obnoxious doses like I do.
The dress did change a bit from its original conception to its present form. That's the fun of creative work, it can mold and change as you go along. One important last minute change were the pockets... the bride needed her Burt's Bees and wasn't going to carry a purse. Done and done. The headpiece pretty much happened by accident. She came over for a fitting and we were discussing hair and politics (ok, just hair) and I had a piece of bird cage netting for another bride that I just tied it in a bow and threw it in her hair to give her an idea of what she might want. And it looked perfect, so it stuck. It almost made it out with the garbage when her dad was tidying up and decided to get rid of 'the scrap of fabric'. But what's a wedding without some drama?
The kindest words came from the bride's mother who thanked me for making a dress that was just right for her daughter. She has two daughters (both are my homeslices) and they have very different styles. I made a wedding dress for the eldest daughter two years ago and it couldn't have been more opposite. It was a totally unique experience this time around. And even though it got crazy busy around here, it's pretty special to be part of such a big deal in some one's life.






And big thanks to Kara Lodder for the pictures. I don't know what I would have to show you guys if it wasn't for her. My pictures were bad news bears... which is why we hire the professionals, right? Check out her blog for more wedding shots, including a good looking wedding party and some awesome, moody storm clouds....


Match Point






Dress? BCBG, Want Boutique
Shoes? Dumond
Hard shell purse? Vintage and thrifted

I might say 'this is my favourite ' (at least I think it all the time...) about a lot of my clothes but this dress truly is a favourite. I finally wore it again last weekend for a wedding. I meant to wear it last year to a bridal shower but I laid it out on the bed and one of the unruly bunch (the cats) peed on it. Two dry cleanings and a vet bill later, the dress was good to go again. I meant to wear it to the wedding I had a few weeks ago and that's when Matt got grease all over the back as he tried to zip me in. So I spot cleaned it to have it ready for the wedding last weekend. I really wanted to wear the dress with some very plain nude shoes but I was having problems getting the right pair. I did my research (basically I saw Krystal's shoes... let's hope government studies do more research than I did) but the colour I wanted is only available in the US. The colour available here in Canada is more greige, less nude. Boo. So, I pouted because I didn't get what I wanted. I ended up wearing my nude shoes with brown trim and then I added the hard shell purse because it has brown to match my shoes and it has a little bit of silver trim to match the dress and you know what? No one even noticed my perfect little touches of co-ordination. That's why I'm telling you now because I don't want my effort to go unnoticed.

I got this dress in my third year of university (5 years ago!?) when I was shopping with a friend for a bridesmaid dress for her sister's wedding. I tried it on and it wouldn't zip up. I couldn't have afforded it anyways. Months later I was back; magically it fit and the price was drastically reduced to about $100. I still couldn't really afford it but I was saving money by borrowing some of my textbooks from the library instead of buying them, so I deserved that dress... what great logic runs my life! And that's how I started to buy pretty dresses without having occasions to wear them. But I've never regretted buying this dress. I love the heavy cotton against the delicate, silver embroidery. In a way, this dress sums up my sense of style and maybe even my life. I wear roughed up denim with my sequins and I'm a landscaper with a style blog. A perfect contrast.


Toe to Toe






Skirt? ?, Winners (actually a dress...)
Silk top? Noa, Winners
Patent boots? Thrifted
Necklace? Thrifted/garage sale

Matt and I have trespassed plenty of times to get outfit shots but this is the first time I have ever felt bad doing it. Maybe because it was an effort trespass, hanging unto a fence for dear life, trying to scoot around it without falling into the deep ditch. Everyone who lives around here knows where these pictures were taken and knows that it's along a busy highway, making it feel even more awkward. And then a van load of people stopped at the side of the highway to watch us trespass and take pictures. But I wanted pictures with my dino buddy... These were the quickest set of pictures we've ever taken, I wish we had taken the time to play around with the background a bit more but I was worried we would get in trouble. The truth is, I just like to worry but if we did get 'caught' I would have ran like I was still in Grade 8 and fast enough to get second at the 100 m. dash on Track and Field Day. I don't condone trespassing but we are always polite. I have never tagged 'My Edit Wuz Here' on any walls and let's just spin this into a positive, it's like free promotion isn't it? If anyone wants a dinosaur in their backyard, you know who to contact. Holler at your girl.

This outfit is very different from what I usually wear. I think I would have liked it with some strappy, tall heels but I would probably like every outfit with strappy, tall heels. It felt like I should be going to some indie music festival wearing these boots instead of singing along to Justin Bieber f. Jaden Smith ( 'I can handle it...') in my car. Sometimes getting dressed is a big optical illusion.


The result of a rushed photo shoot... we should have considered how awkward my placement is...


Double Double






Skirt? Joe Fresh
Shirt? Zara
Boots? Aldo
Purse? Vintage and thrifted

I put my brave face on to wear this. I live in a city where most inhabitants would think that 'pattern mixing' is a quilting term and I wore this. Once again I will be accepting virtual high fives for the next few days.
This outfit is for Nadine. She has been one of my most faithful readers who has followed me for a very long time. In the most non cheesy way possible, I want to say thank-you to everyone who stops by. Sometimes I feel like a butthead (such eloquence) about not being able to comment and respond to everyone, but I have to remember that as it stands now, my blog is my hobby; something I do in my spare time and sometimes there is no time to spare. But thank-you so, so much for every one's kindness over the last year and a half. Matt has been fired from his job as official complimenter, as you guys do it so well.
But back to Nadine... In the spring I wore double lace and I wrote about how I asked Matt what the next outfit challenge should be and he said double leopard. My next outfit post featured no double leopard and Nadine commented that she was expecting it. My heart broke because I let Nadine down (it's no secret I'm sensitive). Since then I've been trying to concoct the perfect animal print extravaganza. I thought pairing these shoes and this belt was too easy but there wasn't a lot of other options as I had just done a closet purge and gotten rid of a lot of my leopard stuff and given it to my sister-in-law because she just turned 40. And 40 year olds and leopard print go together like chocolate and peanut butter and marsh mellows and graham crackers. Ha! I'm kidding... Just trying to get her going... Did it work? xox
I purchased this shirt from Zara sale time (the only time for me...) and when I saw this skirt at Joe Fresh, I thought 'maybe I can'. And so I did. It may be all wrong but for some reason it felt kinda right. Thanks Nadine for making me push it a little further!



Back Up Plans






Dress? Elie Tahari, Off 5th
Shoes? Betsey Johnson, Winners
Broaches? Two starbursts are borrowed from my parents, the maple leaf is thrifted
Clutch? Hilary Radley, Style Sense

I used to be foolish and take getting dressed up for granted. That was back in the day when we were young and Dutch and everyone around us was getting married. A few years back Matt and I would have at least 6-8 weddings in per year. We were really popular I guess, or Matt just comes from a huge family. Either way, the weddings have dried up a bit and have been replaced with hospital visits to see new babies. Which is lovely (ugh, the most used word in fashion blogs...) but I miss the dressing up part.

We only have two weddings this year, so the decision of what to wear to each must be taken seriously. So many dresses, so little time... I actually had my dress for the wedding this weekend picked out weeks in advance because I'm cool like that. Right before the reception, I asked Matt to zip me into the dress and he got grease all along the back zipper. Shame on him for having dirty hands and touching my precious dress. Shame on me for asking him to zip me in while he was under the hood of the truck trying to figure out why it was making noises that couldn't be drowned out by the radio... The two of us make a bright pair.

So, at the last minute I wore this dress. I threw some broaches on, some seriously sparkly shoes (yes, go ahead, tell me a Wizard of Oz joke...) and some fake eyelashes that weren't worth the effort and I was ready. It's a good thing I have another wedding next weekend. I got the stains out of the original dress and as long as we zip it up in a clean place, I can wear it then.

And now it's time to celebrate good deals again... with the shoes being $25 and the dress being $33.50, they cost as much as my clutch. Which can only mean one thing; I paid too much for the clutch.


(p.s. I am very aware that I owe you a hair tutorial. It is my goal to get it up in less than two weeks...shame on me.)

Edit: For those who were wondering... I made the dress for this bride but I'm getting some pictures from the photographer because mine were weak... I was not a bridesmaid so I got to wear what I wanted. The bridesmaids dresses I am working on are for another wedding... very soon...ahhh!